Nostalgia is (kind of) a moron…

Back when I was a small child, I loved “Emergency“.

Now that I’m an adult, and have the chance to work from home some days, I can watch the show on one of those retro TV networks. And you know…I hate to admit this…and maybe it is just the episodes I’ve caught…but it’s not as good as I remember it.

There are two episodes that I recall, but haven’t seen come round yet: one where Dr. Brackett and the paramedics have to do emergency field surgery on a guy who fired a grenade round into his gut, and another where the paramedics may have to do a field amputation to rescue a man trapped by a building collapse. (I don’t remember if they actually took the guy’s leg off or not.)

What brings this to mind? About six months ago, Collin County (where Plano is) realized they had a problem: there’s a lot of construction going on, and with that, a lot of potential for workers to become badly trapped by construction accidents. Collin County firefighters worked with a local hospital (Medical City Plano, also a Level 1 trauma center) to develop something called the “pre-hospital amputation team” in case it was ever needed.

Last week, it was.

Firefighters called Gamber on their way to the accident scene. He summoned trauma surgeon Al West, who arrived by helicopter 41 minutes after the accident.
He carried a black plastic toolbox that held everything he would need to free Palma: a saw, scissors, clamps, dressings. This was the first time in his 20 years operating on trauma patients that he wouldn’t have a sterile operating room.

Firefighters held Palma’s body so he wouldn’t fall after the amputation and West began cutting above the right knee. The machine had already partially severed the leg and West cut the remaining tissue. Palma’s left leg was also injured — with a fracture and muscle damage, tests would later show.

Ten minutes after West arrived, Palma was free, said Vetterick, a former flight medic, who supervised the 20 or so firefighters working with the doctors near Main Street and Independence Parkway.

The guy’s still in critical condition, but expected to live. The doctors say there’s about a 75% chance he’ll be able to walk normally with a prosthetic leg. Here’s his GoFundMe, if you feel like kicking in a few bucks for the family.

Hattip: SwiftOnSecurity.

One Response to “Nostalgia is (kind of) a moron…”

  1. Joe D says:

    I remember that episode. I think he was in a trench or a building or something, and it was about to collapse and bury him alive. His leg was pinned, but if they moved whatever was pinning him, it would collapse even faster.

    I think they managed to get it off him and get him out right before the trench collapsed.

Leave a Reply